CANADA-U.S. TRADE: SEAMLESS SEAMLESS & & & STREAMLINED STREAMLINED
Hillman also notes the importance of checking with specic government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for rules pertaining to regulated products. And the appropriate government agencies and industry groups sometimes offer best-practice webinars to increase exporter-importer regulatory awareness. Consulting with logistics providers who are experienced in both the opportunities and the challenges inherent in Canada-U.S. trade is essential. “It’s a big hurdle for companies to move from being focused only on their internal market to where they are growing and have other opportunities globally,” Hillman says. The “rst step into the global world,” she adds, is usually for Canadian companies to move into the United States and vice versa. While the transition can be smooth, it still means companies must consider the rules of international compliance. GROWING COLLABORATION Dave Cox, who leads what he calls “an American company headquartered in Canada,” says that collaboration— not just between the United States and its northern neighbor but also between carriers and shippers—is stronger than ever in the pandemic (and looming post- pandemic) era. “There’s a lot more collaboration with clients now,” says Cox, president of Polaris Transportation Group, based just outside Toronto in Mississauga, Ontario. Polaris is an industry leader in transit to and from the United States. From that dual perspective, Cox notes that the longstanding spirit of cooperation between Canada and the United States remains as robust as it always has been, while the carrier-shipper relationship has grown more powerful still. In large part, he says, this is due to the greater demands the pandemic has driven for transparency and communication in transportation and supply chain management generally. “I have stronger conversations with
Polaris Transportation Group is one of the largest privately held Canadian LTL carriers with four operating divisions: Polaris Transport Carriers, Polaris Global Logistics, Polaris Commercial Warehousing, and NorthStar Digital Solutions.
of goods more seamless and efcient. In that regard, he continues to emphasize the vital importance of shippers having their documents completed as early as possible in the process. “Both Canada and the United States are great entities to work with if you are procient and provide documentation well in advance,” he says. ENSURING EFFICIENCY On the U.S. side, Cox adds, customs agents are increasingly focused on proper declarations of the country of origin of products being shipped. Failing to label products at all or mis-declaring their origins are “the two biggest things that slow crossings down,” he notes. If issues are found in random inspections, he explains, shipments will not move quickly and efciently across the border. “Shippers can help by getting documents to us when the client books an order,” he says. “It seems like a small thing, but it’s not.” Heightened emphasis on border and supply chain security has resulted in an increase in contraband seizures, and agents are “very intentional and deliberate” in their cargo examinations, Cox says. Moreover, he says, manufacturing and supply chain disruptions overseas mean that more facilities are operating near
our clients today, including discussions about where business is going,” he says. “In addition, we nd more clients are pre-booking space. That didn’t happen so much before.” Capacity is key in today’s business climate, he explains, and it is essential for shippers to stay informed about the capacity situation every step along their cargo’s journey. Carriers like Polaris now have a deeper understanding of what capacity they have at any given moment, he says, and shippers are likewise acutely aware of the impact that capacity will have on the timeliness of their shipments. Shippers therefore insist that carriers communicate capacity realities promptly and accurately. “In years past, carriers and shippers may not have been the greatest partners,” Cox acknowledges. But today, both are “100% better educated,” he says. “We didn’t need to know each other’s businesses so much pre-pandemic,” Cox says. “But now we have ongoing conversations where we learn more about each other.” This more collaborative relationship is likely to remain the norm, he says, as tight capacity conditions show no signs of abating. Speaking for Polaris, Cox is in favor of anything and everything that will make the cross-border movement
182 Inbound Logistics • July 2022
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